I have commitment issues.
Or at least, I used to. I used to keep bouncing back and forth between wanting to edit and wanting to be in some form of "helping" profession: physical therapy, EMT, life coach, etc.
A few years ago I finally bit the bullet and went all in on Editing. Am currently nearing the end of grad school and looking for work in my chosen field.
And while I had made peace with it, there was part of me that always felt I had made the selfish choice.
The other night I was dealing with some personal issues that were bringing me down, on top of my already high working-while-going-to-grad-school level stress.
I hit a wall. Nothing felt good and I didn't like anything I was doing on my class project.
So I decided to take a break and watch a movie. Not having a lot of time means I tend to watch more TV than movies lately. So this was a splurge.
Sleeping With Other People is a pretty standard romantic comedy. Has engaging characters and some interesting choices, but nothing that really veers much from the formula.
But here's the thing...that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Because when I finished watching that movie I felt 100 times better. It did what it was supposed to do. It entertained me enough that I could escape my world and visit theirs for a while.
And that's when I realized:
Making movies, telling entertaining stories...it IS a helping profession.
And I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing.
As inspired by the great Crash Davis speech in Bull Durham...
I believe in love, ice cream, sunsets, the Chicago Bears, laughter, and nerdfighters.
I believe that kindness is strength, that you can have inner peace while honoring your inner smartass, and that a great song can save a life.
I believe the Cubs will win the World Series in my lifetime. *
I believe comedy is the quickest way to get people to question the way they view the world.
I believe that the most interesting people are the least concerned with how cool they are.
I believe in the movies of Cameron Crowe and the books of John Green, and therefore that you can be successful without being cynical.
I believe failure is useful.
Most importantly, I believe.
* Please note that I originally wrote this statement in 2012
Tonight was a momentous occasion.
After tonight Monty Python has passed on. The group is no more, ceased to be, expired, run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible, they're bleedin' demised. But don't worry, it's just a flesh wound.
The remaining Pythons have declared tonight's Monty Python Live (Mostly) to be their last performance as a group. No more knights who say "Ni", no more unladen swallows, no more silly walks. Actually the silly walks stopped awhile back (arthritis is a bitch.)
The show was sentimental without requiring the use of insulin to counteract it, and the Pythons seemed to be having a wonderful time together. (My favorite moment was when Cleese and Palin went off script in the dead parrot sketch and made each other laugh.) Tributes to Graham Chapman were appropriately dark and hilarious rather than maudlin.
It was a very Monty Python way to go out.
"What have you got to lose? you know, you come from nothing -you're going back to nothing what have you lost? Nothing!"
Thanks for all the laughs, Pythons. Always look on the bright side of life.
The weekend of July 12, 2008: I travelled from my home in Florida to the little town of George, Washington (yes, really) on Friday night. Watched The Police play a show at The Gorge amphitheatre Saturday, and flew back Sunday morning. Insane? Possibly. Totally freakin' worth it? Definitely.
When I made my first list in 2003, it was just called "a list of stuff I want to do before I die." Not very catchy. It wasn't until the movie in 2007 that the term "Bucket List" caught on.
Another thing that was different in 2003 was that it felt completely crazy to even put "See The Police play live" on my list. Sting was adamant that he had no interest in getting the band back together; so much so that even if Stewart and Andy pulled up in an old police car wearing sunglasses in the dark and told him they were on a mission from God he still wouldn't say yes. I almost left it off the list. But then I thought, "What the hell, all three of them are still alive and active so it's still technically possible."
That's one of the cool things about bucket lists. They get you thinking that some impossible things might just be possible.
It also makes a statement to the universe: "I really want this." Some people believe in the law of attraction, that setting an intention for something you want to happen creates energy in the universe that helps it become reality.
Even if you don't believe that, writing your hopes down and putting them out there makes your brain pay more attention to signs that will lead you to your goal. The Police announced their tour in May of 2007, but at the end of 2006 I got a vaguely hopeful email that had a whisper of a hint that something big was coming, and I started paying attention. As months went on, fans were lighting up message boards with rumors. More Police songs started showing up on the radio, even in the mix at the gym. If I hadn't put that on my list, I probably would have missed all those early signs, and the delicious anticipation that came with them.
For something as big as a Police tour, I would've eventually found out about it anyhow, but for our smaller dreams a missed sign can be the difference between having the experience or missing out completely. Putting our intentions on paper flags a small corner of our brain to watch for ways to make the connections to get us there.
Somewhere around 2005, I added 2 outdoor venues to my bucket list: Red Rocks and The Gorge at George. Why would I want to go all the way across the country for a venue? This is what a show at The Gorge looks like:
See what I mean? (And this picture really doesn't even do the experience justice.)
This is where the bucket list momentum really comes in handy. I had the time, I had the money, I had the opportunity, but if I hadn't had it out there as something on my bucket list it would've been one more "Oh, that sounds nice, but..." and it never would've happened. Instead, being a combination of 2 bucket list items, it was a no-brainer. And it turns out that the craziest decision I ever made resulted in one of the most joyous, memorable days of my life. When a brilliant set by (opener) Elvis Costello is only icing on the cake, that's a damn good day.
A bucket list helps you say to yourself, "Self, this is a priority." "This is important." "This is worth going after." As such, it's a great tool. A bucket list gives you permission to do a thing for the fun of it. To do crazy things, have adventures, experience a day or a moment of pure joy, just because it's something you really want.
When we were kids, we got to make lists of stuff we wanted all the time -- for Santa, for our birthdays. Why should kids get to have all the fun? It's your turn, go make your list. Or update your old one. When you're done, come back and post some of your wishes here. Who knows, maybe posting them out loud will make them even more likely to come true.
The Bazmark production company changes its logo for each film. (This one is from The Great Gatsby.) In each logo, though, are the same words:
Truth. Beauty. Freedom. Love.
A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
The last is a line from Baz Luhrman's first movie, Strictly Ballroom (1992.) It's generally described and marketed as a movie about Ballroom dancing. Really, it's a movie about life. Specifically, learning to ignore the critics, to dance your own way.
Very few people are lukewarm on the subject of Baz's movies, it's very much a love/hate experience. His storytelling style, his visuals, his use of music - all are part of a unique point of view that's uniquely him. Baz dances his own way, and is willing to accept the consequence that there will be those who despise his movies.
It's interesting to me that the dance that becomes the heart of Strictly Ballroom is the Paso Doble, a Spanish dance modeled on bullfighting. Interesting because of the quote that inspired the title of Brené Brown's book Daring Greatly:
Brown says about the quote: "This is about vulnerability...Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it's understanding the necessity of both; it's engaging. It's being all in." Vulnerability is "the catalyst for courage, compassion, and connection."
What does all this have to do with being cool? Coolness is an armor. Coolness is a front that keeps you from feeling too deep, loving someone so much they can hurt you, trying something that might make you look silly or imperfect, reaching for a target you might miss. I was looking for a definition of cool, and I found this guy's picture that actually does sum up cool perfectly:
This guy is so cool it hurts. He loves to be in charge. He hates asking for permission, not realizing that asking someone for a date, for a dance, for their number - all are asking for permission.
When you can let go of the idea that you can be in charge of anything, when you realize that asking for what you need is ok, you allow yourself to be vulnerable, real.
So what's in it for us? What happens if we show up, what's so great about being seen? Remember, "A life lived in fear is a life half lived." Some people call it "playing small," and there's no quicker way to become dissatisfied with your life. There is no success without risk. Real joy is often a product of living through real pain. Love is only love when that other person is seeing who you are, and loving you because of your imperfections.
Vulnerability isn't easy. It's a learned skill. We've had years of conditioning that tells us we need to hide our flaws, we need to protect our hearts, we need to be cynical and realistic. When we're born, we can't help but be who we are. When we grow up, we have to remember, to re-learn.
Still think vulnerability = weakness? Here's a quote from a thing badass punk rocker Henry Rollins wrote years ago in his book One From None, something I wrote down, and carried around with me for years:
Being cool is over rated. I'd rather be real.
Tell me your stories. Have you ever done something that made you feel icky while chasing the cool?
Chris babbles about movies,pop culture, life, and weird stuff that occurs to her. Oh, and occasionally something useful happens.